Dan Naylor ProfileDan Naylor

This is a question that students sometimes ask. On the surface, it seems like a very good question. Who wouldn’t want to know the school’s pass rate? Isn’t that an objective measure of how well the students perform who attend the school?

I could tell you that we had a 95% pass rate last month.  I could also say that we had 100% of broker students pass the exam in a 10 month period.  Maybe best would be to say that for the last 2 years running, our pre-license student pass rate has exceeded the state average.  Which one of those statements answers the question?

So what is a school’s pass rate? That is actually a much harder question to answer than you might think. What does the phrase “pass rate” mean?

  • How many students complete the course?
  • How many students complete the course exam?
  • How many students pass the state exam?
  • How many students pass the state exam on the first try?
  • Should it be “how many” or “what percentage”?

Surely when you ask about the pass rate for a pre-license course, which is designed to prepare a student for a licensing examination, you are referring to what percentage of students pass the exam on the first try, right? But what other factors are at play?

  • Are you comparing to other schools, or only students within your school?
  • Are you comparing students within the same class, who experienced the same learning?
  • Are you measuring over a one month period? 6 months? A year? More?
  • Are you taking an average?
  • Are you using the full population of students?
  • Are you measuring only students who pass the course?

There are many different factors at play, and you may not be hearing what you think you are. What I would like to caution, is that numbers sound like facts, when really their preparation is very subjective. Numbers in advertising are more opinion than fact. They are engineered to present the company or product in the best possible light. And in our world where first impressions can make or break a company, it’s a necessary part of the message we present. However, numbers don’t tell the whole story.


Real estate school is a lot like the real estate profession. Your success or failure depends entirely on what you are willing to accomplish. You need to be self-driven. When you ask a school for a statistic, you are taking yourself out of the equation. While a pass rate that is properly vetted can be a good tool to determine the effectiveness of a course, that information is most useful to the course designers, not students. The most important information for new students should relate to what the course will offer to the student to help them to succeed.

  • When are classes held? If a class is missed, how soon can it be retaken?
  • What materials are provided? Study guides? Text books? Videos?
  • When are reviews held? If a concept is not understood, where can you find clarification?
  • When will you have access to an instructor?
  • What if you don’t pass the exam on the first try, how can you prepare for the next attempt?
  • Does the course prepare you for your exam, or does it prepare you for your career?

As a pre-license student, focus on how the school will aid your learning and progression. Think about how the course fits into your schedule. The support and services provided by the school will be instrumental in your learning experience. It doesn’t matter how successful the average student has been, what is important is whether you, yourself, will have the tools you need to excel.